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The Aintree Grand National Races Explained

If you have you ever wondered what all the races mean and where they come from we explain each Grade 1 race within the meeting in detail:

Betfred Bowl

The Betfred Bowl is a National Hunt chase for horses upwards of 5 years old. It’s run on the first day of the Aintree Grand National meeting. Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer for the race, putting together four wins so far with See More Business (2000), What a Friend (2010) and Silvinianco Conti (2014, 2015).

Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle

The Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race open to horses who are four-years-old. It usually features horses that previously ran the Triumph Hurdle. The last to win both events was Zarkandar in 2011.

Aintree Hurdle

The Aintree Hurdle was established in 1976 and is a National Hunt hurdle race ran over a distance of about 2 miles 4 furlongs, over eleven hurdles. Ruby Walsh is the jockey to beat on the hurdle, amassing 5 wins so far with Ilnamar (2002), Sacundai (2003), Asian Maze (2006), Zarkandar (2013) and Annie Power (2016).

Manifesto Novices’ Chase

Only established in 2009 the Manifesto Novices’ Chase is a National Hunt chase open to horses five years old and above. It’s named after Manifesto, a horse that ran in the Grand National eight times, won it twice, finished 3rd three times and another time came 4th. It was won by Arzal in 2016.

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

This event was established in 1988 and was called the White Satin Novices’ Hurdle. It was renamed to its current title in 1993 and is a National Hunt hurdle race just over 3 miles in length. David Nicholson and Nigel Twiston-Davies are drawn as top trainer of the even with 3 wins apiece.

Mildmay Novices’ Chase

The Mildmay Novices’ Chase is a National Hunt chase open to horses five years and older. The first two winners of the Chase went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Bregawn 1981 & Burrough Hill Lad 1982). During the race there are 19 fences to be jumped and the total distance is around 3 miles and 1 furlong.

Melling Chase

This race is named after a village nearby called Melling, made famous by Melling Road which crosses the course. It was established in 1991 and is a National Hunt chase with a distance of around 2 miles and 4 furlongs. Barry Geraghty is the jockey to beat in this event, having accumulated 4 wins with Moscow Flyer (2004, 2005), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013).

Maghull Novices’ Chase

The Maghull Novices’ Chase is a National Hunt steeplechase for novice chasers aged five or over. The distance is around 2 miles and usually features horses that ran in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, such as Douvan who won both in 2016. It was promoted to Grade 1 status in 1995.

Grand National

The Grand National is the move valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1,000,000 in 2016. The Grand National 2017 is an event that is prominent in British Culture with lots of people who do not usually watch horse racing tuning in or placing bets on the outcome.  The course contains much larger fences than the norm, with some of them being famous in their own right such as the Canal turn. Last won by Rule The World in 2016.

Liverpool Hurdle

The Liverpool Hurdle is named after the city that Aintree nestles just outside of. It is a National Hunt hurdle open to horses aged four years and older. Established in 1974, the field usually includes horses that ran in the World Hurdle including Thistlecrack who won both races in 2016.

Mersey Novices’ Hurdle

The Mersey Novices’ Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle open to horses four years and older. The distance of the race is around 2 miles and 4 furlongs including eleven hurdles to be jumped. The last horse to win the race was Yorkhill in 2016. 

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